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by the governor in person, had been collected in Orangeburg, high up the north fork of the Edisto, as a central part of the state, whence he might with the greatest facility march to the point most imminently endangered.
Had the original plan of Prevost comprehended Charlestown, he would unquestionably have continued his march with the same rapidity with which it was commenced, in which event that place must inevitably have fallen. But this having formed no part of the original design with which he crossed the Savannah, he halted after having gained more than half the distance, and consumed two or three days in deliberating on his future
While the intelligence he received determined him to proceed, and assured him of a state of things which rendered success almost certain, that state of things was rapidly changing. Fortifications on the land side were commenced, and prosecuted with the most unremitting labour; lines of defence were drawn from Ashley to Cowper rivers; a numerous artillery was placed in them, in addition to which they were flanked by armed galleys, stationed in the two rivers. The neighbouring militia were drawn into the town; the reinforcement detached by General Lincoln, and the legion of Putaski, arrived; and the governor also entered the city at the head of the troops which had been stationed at Orangeburg.
The next morning Prevost crossed Ashley river, and marching down the neck, took a station just beyond cannon-shot of the works. The town was summoned to surrender; and time being deemed by Governor Rutledge of the utmost importance, the day was spent in sending and receiving flags. The neutrality of South Carolina during the war, leaving the question whether that state should finally belong to Great Britain or to the United States, to be settled in the treaty of
peace, was proposed on the part of the garrison, and rejected by Prevost, who required that they should surrender themselves prisoners of war. sition being also rejected, the garrison prepared against an assault. But an attempt to carry the works by storm was too hazardous to be made; and Prevost came to the prudent resolution of decamping that very night, and re-crossing Ashley river. This he effected unmolested by the garrison, who remained in their lines under the constant apprehension of being attacked.
To avoid the serious obstacles to a retreat by land into Georgia, the British army passed into the island of St. James, and thence to that of St. John's; both of which lie to the southward of Charlestown harbour, and afforded good quarters and an abundant supply of provisions to the troops. As the British army took post in St. John's
island, General Lincoln encamped at no great distance from it, and about thirty miles from Charlestown, so as, in a great degree, to confine them to the island they occupied. This island is separated from the main land by an inlet, to which has been given the name of Stono river; and the communication between the one and the other is preserved by a ferry. Upon the main land, at this ferry, a British post was established, and works were thrown up in front for its defence. This position appeared too strong to be attacked while their whole army lay in its neighbourhood. But when the retreat commenced, and the troops were generally engaged in moving from island to island, and in establishing the posts designed to be held during the sickly season an operation which
gave such fullemployment to the major part of their shipping, as in some small degree to impede the passing of reinforcements from St. John's to the main land—the occasion seemed a fair one for attacking the post at the ferry. This post was now defended only by Lieutenant-colonel Maitland, with about eight hundred men; but a large corps still lay on the island. To afford a probability of success to the enterprise, it was necessary to prevent the troops on the island from supporting those on the main land. For this purpose, orders were given to General Moultrie, who commanded in Charlestown, to pass over a body of militia into James's
island, who should amuse the enemy in St. John's, while a real attack was to be made on the party stationed at the ferry.
About seven in the morning, General Lincoln commenced the attack. His right was composed of the militia of North and South Carolina, and in his left were placed his continental soldiers. This disposition was made for the purpose of
opposing the latter to the Highlanders, who were deemed the best troops in the British service, and who formed their right. The Virginia militia, and some light-horse, constituted a corps de reserve. His whole force amounted to one thousand men. The continental troops were ordered not to fire a musket, but to storm the lines with fixed bayonets. These orders, however, could not be executed. The fire began on the right; and as it advanced to the left, the utmost efforts of the officers could not stop its continuance through the line, and it soon became general. A gallant attempt was made by the Highlanders to turn Lincoln's left flank; but they were driven back to their works with loss, and the action was continued with spirit on both sides. Perceiving that strong reinforcements were crossing over from the island, after the arrival of which no hope of success could be reasonably entertained, General Lincoln called off his troops, and retreated unmolested to his old ground. General Moultrie had been unable to execute in
time that part of the plan which devolved on him. Boats were not in readiness for crossing over into James island, and consequently the feint on St. John's was not made. This circumstance leaving the enemy at leisure to collect their whole force at the ferry, that post was rendered completely te. nable against the army which assailed it.
The returns made by General Lincoln state his loss in killed and wounded at twenty-four officers and one hundred and fifty-five privates; of these, five officers died of their wounds, and thirty-five privates were killed in the field. The loss fell principally on the continental troops; but Colonel Robert of the militia artillery was among the slain.
The return made by General Prevost stated his loss to be somewhat less than that which had been sustained by the assailants.
Three days after this action, the posts at Stono and St. John's were evacuated; and the troops were withdrawn so silently, that their removal entirely escaped the observation of the American parties who watched their lines. The heat now became too excessive for active service. The whole care of the generals was required to save their troops from the fevers of the climate; and the British army having established a post on the island contiguous to Port Royal and St. Helena, retired into Georgia and St. Augustine. The American militia dispersed, leaving General